The Dec. 7 column “The empty case for progressive taxation” by George Will was truly astounding in its stupidity and meanness.
First, the stupidity: He pushed the old canard that progressive taxation slows economic growth. Yet the post-World War II era saw the biggest and most sustained economic growth in the nation’s history, at the same time that income tax had a top-tier tax rate of about 90 percent. President Reagan began a steady rollback of the tax rates.
Damon Linker, writing in “The Week” (“The sad, sorry decline of George F. Will,” June 11, 2014) noted that (a much younger) Will wrote then that Americans were “undertaxed” during Reagan’s earlier years, when the rates were presumably still relatively high.
Then the meanness: Will characterized progressive taxation (taxing each successive portion of income at a higher rate than the portions before it) as giving the appearance of altruism to “rent-seeking” (devious manipulation) by “economic factions” (Who? The poor, who have no voice?). But real altruism is requiring more from those to whom much has been given.
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We now have lower taxes and higher executive pay and wealth inequity than ever, and the rich, pampered Will likes it that way.
Alan B. Cormack